An eloquent argument about the upcoming Olympics in Beijing

Non-indifference signifies the primacy of humanity over mercantilist pursuits and upholds the truism that man lives by man; that you are your brother’s keeper. Long live Ubuntu, the principle that good men shall not remain silent in the face of man’s inhumanity to man.

As nearly everyone who even occasionally watches the news, listens to the radio, or glances at a newspaper knows, there is quite a bit of controversy swirling around China’s upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing. From protests in Tibet and along the long torch run to climber Brant Holland being kicked off of Everest last week by Nepalese authorities for carrying a "Free Tibet" banner up Everest.

Sadly, however, much of the mainstream news in the USA has failed to speak out strongly on the issue, preferring rather to dodge a tough issue and see what comes out of it all. I’m not advocating that China should be wholeheartedly condemned; China, amidst its stumbles and mistakes, does do a lot of things right, as schools, roads, electricity, and general development in the hinterlands of Tibet attest. However, as with any nation (and especially a big, complex, diverse one like China…or the USA), there are plenty of bad things happening in China, from the oppression of ethnic groups like the Tibetans and the Uighurs to burgeoning environmental issues that threaten catastrophe.

Just as these issues are brought out and addressed candidly and openly when present in the US and other nations, they should likewise be called out and addressed as they happen in China, for the strongest sign of patriotism is not slavish dedication to an ideal, but rather logical criticism directed toward positive change.

Unfortunately, though, China resists nearly all criticism from within and without, no matter how altruistic its framing, and much of the world press, perhaps fearful of the economic might that is modern China, follows suit.

So, to get to my point, it was with pleasure that I came across a wonderful article today in The Post Online from Cameroon. Written by journalist Sam Nuvala Fonkem, the article (China’s Verbal Acrobatics On Sports And Politics) makes an eloquent argument against the policies of – and world acquiescence to – modern China.

I won’t quote the whole article here, because you should read it yourself. But, I did want to pull a strong segment from the end:

China should do well to borrow a leaf from the African
Union which, under the distinguished leadership of Alpha Konare,
adapted the humanitarian philosophy of non-indifference, which goes far
beyond the mercantile notion of non-interference.

Non-indifference signifies the primacy of humanity over mercantilist
pursuits and upholds the truism that man lives by man; that you are
your brother’s keeper. Long live Ubuntu, the principle that good men
shall not remain silent in the face of man’s inhumanity to man.

Fonkem’s writing reminds me of the thoughts of another great leader, thinker, and champion of human rights. He was someone we all know, and one who is revered as a person who did not shrink from controversy, who did the right thing – and advocated the right thing – simply because it was the right thing. The man? Martin Luther King, Jr. And his quote:

Cowardice asks the question – is it safe?

Expediency asks the question – is it politic?

Vanity asks the question – is it popular?

But conscience asks the question – is it right?

And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right.

Jake Norton is an Everest climber, guide, photographer, writer, and motivational speaker from Colorado.

  1. Spinner
    SpinnerApril 30,08

    That’s a great article; made better by the fact that it is fron a non-Western perspective.

    I’ll be really impressed if you confess to being a daily reader of The Post newspaper from Cameroon.

  2. Jake Norton
    Jake NortonApril 30,08

    Ha! Great comment! Sadly, I am not a regular reader of the Post from Cameroon, but given the depth and perspective of their journalism (at least in this case) I might very well change that!

    Thanks for your thoughts!

    -Jake

Leave a Reply